Sunday, September 23, 2007

Defending Conservatism

I know I have been talking about Tom Flanagan a lot lately.

Here and here, for instance.

But I guess I am fated to be the ying to Flanagan's yang. He keeps saying it's OK for Conservatives to sell out their principles, I keep saying it's wrong.

Anyway, he has an article in C2C, the new conservative online journal which, yes you guessed it, defends the Harper government's record.

The editor asked me to write a response, which appears on the same page.


Kirk West said...

Fabulous response Gerry.

Short, and directly to the heart of the matter. As usual.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we might be heading into a national version of when Ontarians got sick of both the Liberals and the Conservatives, and voted in Rae's NDP as a protest.

While I don't think that this would be a good thing for the country (although they could hardly spend more than the CPC already has), at least, people subsequently came to their senses and voted for Mike Harris' real conservative government.

So, vote for fiscal conservatism and elect the NDP!

OMG, have we really sunk to this as a country?

Anonymous said...

Flannigan has actually shown Canadian how Harper has duped us. Harper is living a lie - he's a phony - just for votes.

Harper is not a man of integrity, open and transparent at all and it's time to get rid of him. The Conservatives need to get a new leader that is real, not a hypocrite.

I will never vote Conservative as long as Harper's at the helm.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... Actually. Mr. Flanagan did not so much prove that Mr. Harper is taking incremental steps forward, as his having slowed the steps backward that we would have taken under continued Liberal rule.
... And when voting day comes, we will all vote Conservative as long as Mr. Harper is at the helm... which will be a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Foulds:

Here's my opinion.

The Liberals' corruption would have found its own end, and a grassroots small-c conservative movement would have probably built in strength in all regions.

All plots are eventually found out -- kinda like the Liberals and this "Conservative Party."

Even though they now aim to be "the natural governing party of Canada," the "Conservatives" have damaged conservatism in Canada in the long run.

Perhaps by not making excuses for this stuff anymore is the best way to get it to stop.

Anonymous said...


Good rebuttal to Flanagan. Short and readable!

Please feel free to pass on these sentiments to Mr. Flanagan in your debate:

It's the flip flops, the secrecy and the spending, stupid!

Anonymous said...

Here's how I see it, Gerry. You are both right.

How can that be? Well, whether you like it or not, Liberalism has taken root in Canada because of its party's longtime success electorally. What does that have to do with anything? Well, to offset the last 70 years or so of steady liberal rule, one has to decide what approach best works in the reality we all know as the Canadian [liberal] ethos.

In other words, if you want conservatism to be in the hearts and minds of many Canadians in the short-term, then take out every hammer and screwdriver you own and try to break down the wall built up by liberals over the longhaul. Yes, you may be successful in breaking down a few bricks, but because you're trying to do everything all at once (and it is such a huge change), ppl will notice the commotion you are causing trying to break the wall down. I call this the loud "sprinters" approach.

I guess what I am saying is if you want to truly offset the policies implemented by Liberals and cherished (well, they were) by Canadians, then you have to start winning elections. It make absolutely no sense to come out "sprinting" loudly when the race that will win the day will last for the next 70 years. All the "sprint" approach will do is give conservatives a few mandates in power...just long enough to keep the seat warm for the Liberals.

But don't get me wrong, this incremental approach (quiet marathon) can be accomplished while holding steady to our conservative principles. We just have to stop being so uneasy about the future every time there is a few bumps in the long road ahead. Like I said above, winning this war will take years not months, confidence not uneasiness and compromise not obsession with ideology. Even though a lot of us would like the latter in every case!

Again, which is why I think you are both right. Too bad you two couldn't find some common ground instead of highlighting your differences in public.

Anonymous said...

Although I will note that Flanagan is a little off in his explanation of Reagan who failed to privatize the farm industry and laid the groundwork for social security reform today. Though either one were accomplished, at least Reagan made attempts.

From what I am getting from Flanagan's piece, it was like Reagan completely sidestepped these issues. Not true.

Anonymous said...

Some of these excuses just seem partisan.

I don't see either the Liberals or the Conservatives making great gains currently... certainly not majority status type gains. I do perceive a public that is growing more weary of both parties, however.

Why are conservative voters only learning about the 10 commandments of Flanagan's now?

One can hardly say that there has been full disclosure to the voters regarding the CPC on a number of issues.

The Atlantic Accord, bait and switch.

Not taxing income trusts, bait and switch.

I can go on, at length, but you must all see this point.

If any of you actually lived in a province or a household where people perceive that they have lost something because they have been lied to, it generates a lot of anger... particularly when Federally signed documents have been ignored.

Conservatives don't look like idiots when they whine as Flanagan says... they look like idiots when they flip flop, and then get all angry when they called on the fact that they have not told the whole story.

I am surprised that Flanagan didn't have an eleventh commandment of:

11. Four legs good, two legs better.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I don't often agree with Flanagan, but the reality is one can only run on an unabashedly conservative platform when people desire major change. Harris was replacing an NDP government in 1995 so since Ontario swung too far to the left, people were willing to go a little further to the right to balance things out. The reality is with the Liberals governing most of this century, never mind the fact many values that Canadians have come to cherish are ones conservatives propose, it is pretty tough to run a staunch conservative platform.

More importantly, Canada has a long history of generally supporting a strong government and institutions. One of the reasons Canada was formed was as an alternative to the American model of rugged individualism, so you cannot change the principles a country was founded on easily. I agree government has grown to big, but I also realize that the idea of smaller government has never really been a part of the Canadian psyche